One thing that has actually changed for the good in my life; is that I don’t panic and fall apart like I used to, when trouble came my way. With all I’ve been through in my life, there were days when it didn’t take much for me to fall to pieces with the problem. One thing I can say about our problems; is that God does use them to increase us in strength; so that with each situation that may arise; we are more equipped and able to cope, with what has hit us head on.
When I look back on the very dark and dismal moments of pain and deep heartache; I also remember a time, when I felt as though God was taking me through a spiritual boot camp; but as each difficult moment toppled over another; I began to see a new strength and growth take place; that God was truly using to help me over every obstacle in my life.
In Psalm 62:6, we read… “Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense, and fortress—why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?” Don’t we realize that when we have the most powerful God living within us; then nothing…not even the biggest problem can defeat us; for God alone is the rock we cling to…the One who will always be there to help us through the difficult times, while becoming a shield in Himself; that stands before us; to ward off any fiery darts that Satan may throw our way.
Even though life has been very difficult for me to get through at times; I would never trade an easy life, for the things that God has taught me, through each difficult moment I’ve walked through.
You know…we may experience moments in our lives, when we begin to wonder, when all the pain and heartache will come to its end; but may I encourage us all to not only sit and wait on God to finish what He’s begun; but to also anticipate the good and new things that can truly spring forth, from the troubled moments we experience in life.
I remember a time in my life, when I was facing some family issues, due to a past sexual abuse that took place within the family. Many times, I reached out to my family for support…or even to have them believe in me; but it just didn’t seem as though it was going to happen the way it should have happened.
One thing I learned through my counseling; was that there would possibly be a chance that I would have to walk away from my family…because the memory of the abuse would still be there and the only way to learn to cope with the past would be to leave it behind. Many times…with God’s help, I tried to reach out and seek some resolution within the family…and even my husband tried to do the same; but the situation only worsened for me.
After a while, my relationship with my family began to feel, as if me and my family were clashing up to a brick wall that stood between us. From there, I began to give everything completely to God, as I sought Him for wisdom…as to what I should do. One thing He reminded me of; is that if I was going to serve Him; then I would have to pick up my cross and follow Him completely.
As I continued to seek God’s help in this matter; He led me to a verse in Matthew 19:29, which reads… “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” One thing I knew for sure…if I was going to allow God to use the painful moments of the past; then I would have to let go of the past; so He could have it and use it, in the way He had intended, since the day I was born. In other words…I had to be willing to let go of everything…to gain Him in every way…and you know what…I have and I have had the greatest peace through it all. I still continue to pray for my family and leave them in God’s hands; but just as I was given a choice in my life; they too have a choice to make.
I know that not everyone will do what I have done…because for one thing; God works with people’s lives in different ways; but one thing I can say for sure…since I have given up everything for God…including the painful moments of my past, I have a relationship with Him; that I thought I’d never have and He has truly become everything in my life!
As I look back on my life once more; I remember a time, when I felt as if I was in the deepest darkest pit of despair. If I was to describe what I felt at the time; I would probably say that this pit was very deep, with dirt walls; that made it impossible for me to climb out of, on my own.
It seemed that with each attempt I made, to come out of this pit…I would just fall back down into the place, where I once was. As I sat there hopeless…thinking that I would never make it out; it was as though I began to see a hand reaching down into my pit…a hand with a nail scar; which only reminded me that Jesus had heard my desperate cry for help.
In Psalm 40:2, we read… “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path, and steadied me as I walked along.”…and this is exactly what He did for me! As soon as I was willing to let go and truly realize that I wasn’t going to be able to make it out of that pit on my own; that’s when Jesus came to me and saved me.
You know…it’s so easy, to want to make life work for ourselves. Seems like we are the ones that always feel the need to be in charge; but one thing we must realize…we can’t do what Jesus can do; so rather than trying to fight what we can’t do; maybe it’s time to let go and let Christ do, what He can only do for us.
Some of you may already know that I do live with chronic pain…and it’s most every day. Thursday night, as I went to bed…I was so exhausted that I fell right asleep…that is until the pain set in. I think I was awake on the hour and there was even one time that I sat up in bed…looked out the window and began to feel as if that night of sleep was not going to happen.
I don’t know about you; but when I experience sleepless nights, with a full schedule the next day; it’s so easy to wonder how I will ever get through all that needs to be done. Satan definitely has a way of not only afflicting us; but he also has a way of keeping the affliction alive in our minds, as he attempts to convince us that we just won’t make it.
Anyways…after getting up in the morning…still in pain, I continued to press on; despite what was before me at the time…and you know what; God definitely showed me that I could truly do all things through Him…because of the strength HE gives us.
I think the reason why we fall prey to our problems; is because we are looking at what amount of strength we have left, rather than truly believing in a strength that can take us up and above these moments of despair.
All day Friday…I truly came to experience a strength that kept me standing…pursuing…and pressing on, even in the midst of my despair. May I encourage you to never give up on life…just because your strength is gone. Instead, take hold of a strength that can keep you lifted above these moments of despair!!
In my life, I have not only gone through multiple knee surgeries…chronic pain and the loss of many things; but through life, I found myself so knocked down and brought low; that I could barely consider myself, as someone worthy enough to serve God.
I’ll never forget my first book signing! I had lost so much confidence in my life; that I could barely sign my name on a book. One thing I will never forget, were the moments when I sat for the longest time…practicing how to write my name in a book. I find it totally amazing, as to how God can repair something like that, which has been broken over time…through just a simple book signing.
As the years have passed by, I now see where more boldness is springing up within me and the low self-esteem is becoming more of a thing of the past. In Isaiah 45:2a, we read… “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight”…and this is what God is continually doing in my life. For every broken road I have walked down; these roads are now being repaired, by a God, who amazingly can take each crooked place in the road and make it straight once more.
No matter what you may be facing…and no matter how hopeless life may seem; just know that God has the power to do the same for you, as He has done for me…and this is my prayer for you, as we end our time together today.
As I look back, on all I’ve been through…especially all the knee surgeries…pain and long days of recovery; there is one thing I am being reminded of today…and that is how God works in His way and in His timing.
It seems like there are people, who have become discouraged...because they’ve been told that their faith isn’t strong enough…otherwise they would be healed. If that is true…which it isn’t; then my faith must be at the bottom of the barrel because I still live with two bad legs…along with other chronic pain issues.
One thing I’ve learned even more, through it all; is how God uses these difficult moments in our lives, to produce spiritual growth and to also become a living testimony, of God’s strength and goodness.
We don’t always understand why God heals some and not others; but I have come to see that it’s His purpose for these difficult times; that we should keep in mind. I have truly come to see that behind each moment of pain and heartache…there is a purpose for it all. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are weak in faith…it just sometimes means that God has a plan for our lives; that we don’t always fully understand at the beginning.
You know…I may not be healed, until I reach heaven; but that’s ok…if that is what God wants for now; because you see, I would rather be in sync with God and what He longs for in my life; then to be ahead of Him…trying to make something happen; that just may not happen at the moment.
No matter what we face…we can always take our need to God and trust Him for His very best; but in the end, we must be willing to accept His decision and desires for our lives. One thing I can encourage you with tonight; is that no matter what God allows within your life…He will give you the grace and strength, to make it through…Praise Him!
There was a time in my life…about 10 years ago, when all the surgeries on my right knee had failed. There was no other choice now; but to have the knee fused with a rod. Years of dislocations…infections and trauma to the knee, had now put my right knee to rest.
After having the surgery…I never really gave it any thought, as to how different life would be…that is, until the bandages came off and the stitches were removed. It seemed that from that moment on, I would go through a time of grief…a time, when I would have to truly accept what was now before me. One of the hardest things I had to accept; was that I would no longer be able to have the option, to kneel at my bed and pray. Life was definitely going to be different!
As I continued to find peace, in the midst of this troubling situation; God began to show me a way, where I could kneel before Him…and as I began to close my eyes and focus on God, I began to see myself…kneeling before Him, within the heart.
One thing I learned that day; is that when God allows some loss to take place within our lives; He will be right there…ready to fill the emptiness with His loving care for us. Now it’s been a little over 10 years, since the surgery and I barely even notice my stiff leg…and even better…God used this time to reach out to someone in Europe, who had gone through a similar situation and was discouraged…so see; God ALWAYS makes a way, where there seems to be no way…no matter what He allows within our lives.
As I look back, to a time when I was going through group counseling, for a past sexual abuse… that took place around the age of 5 years old; I remember moments that were so overwhelming; that I felt as though I could barely take my next breath. The pain that stemmed from these hurtful moments only made me want to push each thought back down…deep within the heart…where they would never be found again; but somehow I knew; that this plan of mine would only bring more pain down the road; so I continued on.
After a couple of very painful counseling sessions; God was already beginning to care for me, in a way that truly made me feel, as if His loving arms were keeping me safe, from all the hurtful moments that were still awaiting me…by memorizing a Bible verse before each counseling session…one that would bring comfort and peace…at a time, when I would need it the most.
To this day, I still have the Bible, with all the verses in the front; that were under headings, such as discouragement, anxiety, etc… This Bible truly became a survival manual…whose verses brought me through some very difficult times.
In Psalm 119:11, we read… “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”…and this is exactly what I did. I began to hide verses within my heart; that would keep me from giving up and falling away; from the God I needed the most. To this day, I continue to thumb through these verses…as they now continue to keep me pressing on, while serving God each day.
No matter what you may be facing…hide God’s word deep within the heart; that these verses may be used, to spring forth hope, at a time when you need it the most!
One thing I think on from time to time; are the moments, when my doctor had me confined to my upstairs bedroom for 3 months…following a major knee surgery. I guess I think back on this moment in my life; because I truly believe that these were some of the moments that brought my heart down to the level, for which God was going to use me, in the days ahead.
I will never forget these very long and drawn out months of recovery! Before this surgery had taken place, I had gone through a major knee dislocation, while coming down the stairs from my bedroom. The knee had dislocated so badly; that the kneecap had went off the joint surface and was lying on the right side of my leg.
After my husband bravely took hold of the kneecap and placed it back on the joint surface, I was once more sent back to my orthopedic surgeon, where they came to see that I had torn my tendon, along with other complications…so as you can see; the doctor confined me to my bedroom after that surgery because he was afraid that the left knee might do the same, as I had the same condition with both knees.
After my husband had gone back to work…after taking some time off to help me; I sat in that room completely alone…with no phone calls or visits from anyone. The days seemed so long and difficult to get through...and I have to tell you…I didn’t know if I could get through this time emotionally; but as you can see…I did make it through…and I learned a lot along the way, which has only added to the heart that God has now given me.
No matter what you experience in life…and no matter how difficult it may seem; just know that God does have a plan…and He will never leave you or forsake you, until that plan has come to completion.
One thing that was always difficult for me to face in my life was the loss of things. It seemed as though everyone around me was enjoying life and experiencing much more than what I was at the time.
As my knee problems continued to worsen, the doctor took me away from the things I enjoyed the most…like ice skating…bike riding…tennis and much more. Before I realized it, I was once more, in a world of my own…on the sidelines of life.
Through many years of surgeries…pain and disability…the tables began to turn and God was now showing me why He had allowed so much loss within my life…and that reason was so He would have my attention…as He was slowly preparing me for ministry work.
One of my favorite Bible verses; that has always brought me through these challenging moments in my life; is found in Philippians 3:7, which reads… “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” As time passed, I began to see this verse unfold before my very eyes…and I also saw how my life wasn’t defeated because of these losses. In fact, I was beginning to see how God was filling the voids of each loss; that I may gain Him and all He longed to do within my life.
You know…it’s so easy for us to misjudge the trials we go through…and that’s because we are viewing them, in our own way; but when we are willing to use God’s word to direct our paths and lead us in His direction; then we will truly come to see that all we have experienced; was so we could gain God…and all He longed to do through these times of loss.